Sunday, November 24, 2013

Zachary Maeser Baron

On Monday August 26th I had my 39 week check.  I had only dilated to .5 cm and I was feeling great. I remember saying to the Dr. "I'm sure I won't be going into labor this week because I feel TOO good."  Truly, I wasn't ready for the baby to come quite yet.  My mom had tickets to come on Sept. 1st only a week away.  I was pretty confident that I would make it until my due date.

Tuesday the boys were excited because our "slow boat from China... I mean Fast"  shipment came- containing their scooters.  When Andrew came home that night we went for a family scooter ride.  I wasn't planning on going, but thought it might help my body progress.  After I fell off the scooter things did indeed start to progress.  (I fell off the scooter going downhill and luckily I only went down on my hands and knees.)  It was probably really stupid of me to go in the first place and I thought I was being careful enough...

I woke in the night having contractions in my back 30-45 minutes apart.  Wednesday the contractions continued staying at about 20 minutes apart and again was woken up in the night from hard contractions.  On Thursday morning I was scheduled to have my pre-registration meeting at the hospital.  At this point the contractions were coming every 7-10 minutes.

At 10 we went into the registration department in the labor and delivery wing of the hospital.  It was interesting because the registration nurse didn't speak English and we obviously don't speak German.  I am VERY thankful for smart phones and translation apps.  We were able to communicate our information and get the point across that I was possibly in labor.  I was then hooked up to a monitor and waited for 10 minutes.  I had three contractions while hooked up to the monitor, but the monitor didn't show any activity.  When I expressed concern to the nurse she said "It doesn't matter what the machine says- only what your body feels."  I think that one line sums up my birthing experience in Germany.  She then adjusted the monitor and my contractions were indeed coming every 5 minutes.  A doctor came in and verified that labor was progressing and I was dilated to a 4. (Tangent: Modesty is different among Germans and Americans.  For example, when the doctor came in to check my progress I was expected to undress then and there with my entire family and nurses in the room.  Oh, and they don't give you an apron or blanket or anything.)

We then left the hospital, drove back to the hotel, packed our bags, and dropped our kids off at our dear new friends, the Blakemans, for the night.  We arrived back at the hospital at 2 and were put into a room.  My contractions were painful, but bearable so I decided to try for a natural birth.

My hospital room was similar to ones in the States.  A few differences; they don't give you blankets or break your water, but there were different contraptions to help facilitate natural birth.  There was a giant purple hammock looking thing hanging from the ceiling that I guess you could pull/ hang on and they appointed a midwife student to be in the room with me almost the entire time.  

The pain started to get more severe around 3:00.  I had back labor.  Enough said.
In the past, my labors sped up after my water broke.  I remember feeling really annoyed at the nurses because they wouldn't break my water.  They kept rolling their eyes when I told them it had been broken by my Dr. in the States.  I guess that is part of their more natural approach to birth?  Finally, at a 9 my water decided to break.  From 3:45-4:29 I hated life.  That pretty much sums it up.

At 4:29 our sweet Zachary Maeser Baron came into the world at 6.5 pounds and 18.9 inches.

We were surprised at how Small Zach was.  I had an ultrasound about an hour before he was born and they predicted he was about 6 and a half pounds.  We laughed and told them that our other 2 kids had been over 8 pounds that there must be some mistake.   

After the delivery of the After birth we found out why he was so small.

There were two knots in the umbilical cord.  The delivery nurse said she had never seen two before and stressed how lucky we were to have a healthy baby.  One knot can block the nutrients to the baby and be life threatening.  We know we have been very blessed to have a healthy baby boy!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

The end of the pregnancy.

This is going to be long and detailed, but it is my way of journaling about the experience.  Consider yourself warned.

Baby at 5 months (Texas)

 Baby at 6.5 months (Mexico)

Baby at 9 months (Germany)

After we arrived in Germany I set out to find a doctor.  Thankfully, I was put in touch with a few American girls who gave me a great recommendation.  I was able to make an appointment, but ended up having to wait 3 weeks.  That put me about 4 weeks overdue for an appointment, and at 8 months pregnant I was worried.  The little guy had been quieter/ had less movement in my stomach than the others.  Thankfully, the Dr. that I found was American who had trained at Baylor and moved to Germany 10 years ago.  I was comforted to know that she was at least familiar with the way I had birthed my last two children, and could read the records from the States.  

When I left Texas the bambino was breech (his head was pointing towards my head instead of my toes), but my Dr. there was optimistic that he would get turned around before delivery.  When I finally had my appointment in Germany a month later he was still turned the wrong way.  As if our life wasn't complicated enough at that point, right?  In the US this would mean an automatic C-section, but in Germany the Dr's are a little more holistic and willing to try to deliver a breach baby the "normal" way.  I had two two options for hospitals, in case of an emergency C-section, one in Mainz and one in Frankfurt.  We opted for University Hospital in Mainz because it was closer and we were more familiar with the area.

Side note: German OBs don't deliver your baby at the hospital.  You visit them for pre-natal visits and then they refer you to a hospital for delivery.  There, you are delivered with a random Dr or more commonly a midwife.  You also have to have a pre-registration meeting at the hospital before they will admit you.  When I tried to get an appointment at the beginning of August, the first available was on the 29th, just two weeks before my due date.  

I was incredibly freaked out at the possibility of a vaginal breech delivery and didn't necessarily want a C-section either.  That left me with only two options- Pray, and do everything in my power to flip the baby on my own.   I tried doing back bends, placing ice on the belly while in a warm bath, head stands, and laying upside down from the edge of a couch- all while in a hotel.   I must have looked like a beached whale.  We would all laugh at my feeble attempts to do these exercises.  I decided that an exercise ball would help support my back thus keeping me from falling over and looking like an idiot.  It was pretty comical when housekeeping would show up and open the door while I was on the ball.  I wish Andrew had taken a picture...  At my 37 week appointment we did an ultrasound and he had flipped head down.  I know I tried as hard as I could to get him to flip, but I attribute it mostly to prayers.  

At this point we were still in a hotel.  We switched in the middle of August (a month after getting to Germany)  to the Army Hotel in Wiesbaden because it had a kitchenette in the room.  After a month and a half of almost no home cooking it felt wonderful!  We were ready to get moved in to a house, but we had trouble with the housing office.  I will leave that story for another post, but suffice it to say that we thought it best to bring the baby home to a hotel instead of an empty house.

We were also having trouble getting our household shipments here.  (I'm starting to feel slightly more assertive after this move)  We had put all of our baby items in our "fast shipment" that must have gotten confused with the "slow boat to China" shipment.  Finally at 38 weeks pregnant the baby stuff showed up.  That left me with 3 days to spare before I went into labor.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Rudeshime, pronounced like Roodis-hiem, is beautiful!  We thought it was time to learn how to take the German train and so we rode the train from Wiesbaden to Rudeshime.  Unfortunately, we chose to do it on a day when it was overcast and raining.  (We didn't know it was going to rain when we started...)  Even in the rain we still had an amazing day AND we lived to tell about it.  

One fun thing to do in Rudeshime is to take the chair lift up to the top of the mountain/ hill.  We knew we would have an amazing view from the lift and so we bought tickets.  Soon after the tickets were bought the rain started to pour.  We were feeling adventurous and decided to have a go.  

We had rain jackets for Austin and Andrew, but Tyler, fetus, and I tried to stay dry under the umbrella.   

 The view from the top of the hill.  So many of the vineyards we have seen have been terraced into the hillside.  I wonder how they harvest all the grapes?

Here we are!  I would like to note that I was hiking around hills in the rain, and in flip flops.  Not a great combo... I was sure I was going to have a baby on the hill side.  Right before we took the picture shown above I demanded points from Andrew.

Honestly, despite the rain we had a wonderful time.  I've heard we have to head back to Rudeshime to hit the Christmas markets.  
In retrospect we wish we would have driven instead of taking the train, but now we know for next time.